Bipolar or manic/depressive disorder is a disorder that is caused by brain chemistry that is not working correctly. The symptoms can vary widely depending on severeity, age and emotional makeup.
The primary state will be one of depressed mood with periodic states of mania. The depressed state can be very severe or mild leading to suicide, psychotic behavior or thoughts. The manic state can be one of extreme energy, positive moods, racing thoughts or anger, excessive spending or acting out sexually.
It is even more difficult to diagnose children with bipolar as it may overlap with A.D.D. or other disorders.
Treatment for bipolar disorder usually involves a combination of medication (mood stabilizers) as well as therapy. If an individual stays on the medication then it will help reduce episodes significantly. Unfortunately, many people will stop taking their medication thinking they are better, but it inevidiably leads to more problems.